Since World War II we engaged in many wars considered police actions. Among the major ones are the Korean War (1950-1953) [Dead 36,516, Wounded 92,134], Vietnam War (1960-1975) [Dead 58,209, Wounded 153,303], and Afghanistan and Iraq Wars (2000-present) [Dead 13,036, Wounded 83,872]. There were several minor wars as well. Total Dead was over 108,000 and total Wounded over 331,000. In spite of the huge amount of resources and human lives spent on these wars we have never achieved even close to our initial expected overoptimistic goals and have outright lost the costliest war of all in Vietnam. There is good reason to believe that the US world likely be a better country had we not fought these wars. Keep in mind that Japan and Germany had their greatest growth in prosperity and industry after World War II since they were forbidden from spending money to maintain an arm forces. So what would the United States be like if we did not engage in any wars after World War II? What if we kept out of the affairs of other countries, especially in the Middle East? Here are a few things that I thought would be different in no particular order. I’m sure that others would have more things to add to this list:
- More than 108,000 people killed during the wars would have lived much longer lives.
- More than 331,000 who suffer the short and long term physical and psychological wounds of war. Some took decades to treat. Many war casualties suffered permanent brain damage or the lost of limbs or physical abilities. These people would have lived normal lives had they not been injured in war.
- 911 and other similar acts of terrorism would not have occurred to us.
- Homeland security, TSA, the Patriot Act, and other related activities would not exist or would be much smaller in scope and less expensive and impacting such as airport security.
- Our standby arm forces would be smaller and less costly because we would not be always poised for war.
- 3.1 Trillion of today’s dollars would not have been spent on all the wars.
- The national debt would be smaller (currently $16.7 trillion).
- The hippy and drug culture of the 1970’s during the Vietnam War would not exist and perhaps the current drug problems would be far less severe.
- Many social programs such as social security and Medicare would be on more sound footing.
- A cure for cancer and many other diseases might have already been found due to more available money.
- There would be more prosperity for the majority of people.
- The President’s job would have been much simpler allowing him to focus on domestic issues.
- The economic collapse of 2008 would have been smaller and the recovery faster because of a healthier economy.
- Alternative energy sources would have already replaced greenhouse producing sources due to a healthier economy.
- Taxes would be generally lower.
- There would be more money for education at all levels.
- We would have better relations with foreign nations since we would not be perceived as a threat.
- There would be more money for creating new beneficial technologies.
- There would be more money for pure research such as the exploration of space.
- Perhaps there would be more money for law enforcement and less crime.
- Perhaps there would be less polarization in congress because of a greater surplus due to greater prosperity.
Feel free to add to this list. What good has come out of our wars compared to the bad?
Good point..does that mean you are against all wars? Is there such a thing as ‘justifiable’ wars?
I’m not against all wars. I think WWII was necessary since we were directly attacked and had no choice but to defend ourselves. The Korean war is a bit murky and I was too young to play a role.. I did protest against the Vietnam War and was staunchly against all of the Middle East wars from the very beginning because I knew they were about Oil and I knew from the beginning that they would be protracted and very costly in terms of lives and money. I also know that we would not come out of them achieving even close to the objectives we originally envisioned. All we will eventually leave behind is division, instability and chaos for the next 10 or more years.
The Middle East is too filled with hostile religious factions that require a strong hand to keep in check. In Iraq Saddam Hussein was that strong hand. We cannot solve these problems without permanently occupying these areas. Democracy cannot work where there are such strong religious factions. Religion will dominate politics as it often does here except here for example Protestants do not want to eliminate Jews. Politics in the Middle East will for the foreseeable future be dominated by extremist religious factions that will fight for domination. That is sadly the truth.